About the Congregation Action Network

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CAN Mission

The Congregation Action Network is a network of faith communities in Washington, DC, and the Maryland and Virginia suburbs acting in solidarity to end detention, deportation, profiling, and criminalization of immigrants and demanding and upholding justice, dignity, safety, and family unity.


In early 2017, when the Trump Administration announced the Muslim ban and began broadening deportations beyond the already inhumane practices of the Obama administration, two organizations brought a vision for faith-based immigration advocacy to life. Faith in Action's LA RED campaign and Sanctuary DMV founded the DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network to put the power of faith to work for immigration justice. Renamed the Congregation Action Network (CAN) in 2019, this collective of more than 70 Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Humanist, Hindu, Buddhist, and other congregations, has brought its faithful resistance to bear in the DC/MD/VA region to provide support and solidarity to neighbors, friends, and family who fear being detained, deported or profiled. The Congregation Action Network is a program of LA RED, Faith in Action's immigrant justice initiative. Faith in Action is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

"This is the way we live into our values and convictions. We are engaging in faithful resistance to unjust laws and inhumane practices."

- Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, Sr. Minister, Cedar Lane UU Church


In the face of hate and discrimination, the Network is committed to showing love, compassion, and hospitality.

A primary focus for the Network is Deportation Defense: pulling out all the stops to keep a neighbor facing deportation from being deported. This includes advocacy, community organizing, fundraising, family support, media outreach, and communications.


One CAN congregation - Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, MD - has hosted Rosa Gutierrez Lopez in physical sanctuary since December 2018. Other congregations are ready to become physical sanctuaries if the need arises. Still others support Cedar Lane and Rosa. Here are other activities CAN members engage in to resist detentions and deportations and keep families united and free in our communities:


  • Accompany people to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) check-ins, court hearings and ankle monitor check-ins.

  • Serve on rapid response networks that respond to, report on and offer assistance to those targeted by ICE raids.

  • Hold Know Your Rights trainings or community canvasses.

  • Press local jurisdictions to get ICE out of schools, jails, and courts and to end all policies that racially profile and over-incarcerate people of color.

  • Press local jurisdictions and officials to resist ICE's and DHS's attempts to open new immigrant detention facilities in our communities.

Sign up for CAN email updates below to learn about the many ways you and your faith community can engage in Network actions. 

CAN's Structure & Leadership

In 2019, the Congregation Action Network approved its governance and leadership structure. Read more here.

Meet the CAN Steering Committee
Learn About Membership